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Feb. 22, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women’s golf team will host the inaugural Darius Rucker Intercollegiate on March 2-4 at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Gamecock head coach Kalen Harris and director of golf Puggy Blackmon announced Wednesday.

Singer/songwriter Darius Rucker, Long Cove and South Carolina have agreed to host the 54-hole event through 2016. Rucker, who is a South Carolina graduate and avid Gamecock supporter, is currently an award-winning country artist. He is also well known for his time as the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish.

“I couldn’t be more excited for the University of South Carolina to be partnered with the Long Cove Club and Darius Rucker in hosting this women’s collegiate golf tournament,” Harris said. “The Long Cove Club is a first-class venue in itself, and the event has been very well received by the club’s staff and membership. I am also extremely appreciative of Darius Rucker’s involvement in the event, as he is a long-time promoter of golf and Gamecock athletics.”

Blackmon and Long Cove head professional Bob Patton came up with the idea with hopes of creating one of the top women’s tournaments in the country.

“Several years ago we came up with the idea of doing an event with a rock star, and that’s when we came up with the Hootie and the Blowfish at Bulls Bay,” Blackmon said of the men’s tournament held every year in Awendaw, S.C. “This is the women’s counterpart to that, and it’s attracting some of the top teams in the country. We feel that it will quickly become one of the premier events in all of women’s collegiate golf.”

The tournament field will be one of the strongest in collegiate golf this season, as 12 of the 15 teams are ranked in the Golfweek Top 50 and seven are in the Golf World/NGCA Top 25. Alabama, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, UCF, TCU, Wake Forest, Coastal Carolina, USC Beaufort and Notre Dame are slated to compete along with the Gamecocks.

“Darius is obviously a huge draw to the coaches and teams that participate in the event,” Harris said. “We have a very strong field for our first year, and I expect the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove to become one of the premier women’s collegiate golf events in the country in years to come.”

The tournament will be played on the challenging par-71, 6,160-yard course at Long Cove. Pete Dye, who is one of the most well-known course architects in the world, designed Long Cove, which has been on Golf Digest’s Top 100 list for 30 years.

Play will begin on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at 8:30 a.m. on holes one and 10, while the teams will tee off in the final round on Sunday, March 4 at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start. Fans are welcome to attend the tournament. Live results will be available at